YCombinator & Andreessen Horowitz backed PayTango, Pay via Fingerprint Scan

According to Biometrics Research Group, mobile commerce adoption will accelerate due to impending wide-scale integration of biometric technology into smartphone. It’s only after Apple brought its fingerprint tech in iPhones that biometrics got attention again. YC backed startup PayTango, seeks to enable customers to pay via Fingerprint Scan.

PayTango was Co-Founded by 4 CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) graduates - Brian Groudan, Kelly Lau-Kee, Umang Patel (CEO) and Christian Reyes in August 2012. The company has received a total funding of $700K through investors Y-Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz in Seed Round.

PayTango’s system links a form of payment such as debit or credit card, to a user’s fingerprint. He will then have to only place his index finger and middle finger on the biometric fingerprint scanner to make payment. The software immediately recognizes the user.

This video shows you how the system works:

About PayTango:

  • To setup a new account with PayTango, students and other customers can register at the terminal when checking out.
  • The registration process is completed when the user scans their fingerprints, slides the debit or credit card that they would like to be linked with the account and finally enters their phone number.
  • The payment method (credit/debit) that is linked with the user’s fingerprint is tied directly to a merchants POS system and is charged for the purchase automatically.
  • In addition, the fingerprints could be linked to a retailers discount or loyalty program. This would enable the user to avoid another scan during checkout.
  • The entire process takes approximately 6 seconds according to the company. Signing up process is around 20 seconds - it was fast enough for 100 students to sign-up within four hours on the Carnegie Melon campus.
  • The initial prototype with fingerprint scanner and credit card reader was built by the PayTango team for around $1500. They are trying to bring the costs down however.

The very earliest product was just basic, said Umang Patel. But it was a great product to get out there and users responded to it very early on. The product was developed during the first Tech Startup Lab course in the second half of 2012. The project was headed by assistant professor Luis von Ahn (also responsible for Duolingo & reCAPTCHA).

'We wanted to solve the problem of all these cards you have to carry around and things you need to identify yourself--there had to be a better way,' stated Patel. 'We realized biometrics might be the best way to solve the problem of keys and credit cards.' PayTango seeks to roll out their system on different college campuses and gyms over the next year. They have not yet pinpointed on a business model but PayTango may charge on a monthly subscription basis.

The Biometrics space seems to be heating up. Recently, I had posted an article about about Zwipe. The Electronic Access Control Market is estimated to reach $16.3 Bn by 2017 and is increasing at a CAGR of 7% according to On 2nd December 2013, Zwipe launched a biometric access card with fingerprint touch sensors with the help of a firm called Fingerprint Cards. The new card is ISO 14443 compliant and is multi-functional. Interest in Authentication in general and Biometric access in particular, is at an all time high in technology circles now (partly due to iPhone 5s).